Accordingly, they have decided that the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) should take legal action against errant millers who hoard paddy stocks and also raid sellers who sell imported rice claiming to be locally produced.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen has instructed CAA to report on the stock levels of millers as well as details of distribution of imported rice stocks in the local market. He also informed the Committee to take steps to stabilize prices in the market.
The CAA has increased raids and filed cases against almost 2,000 errant traders in 2017 while in May alone nearly 500 such raids were conducted.
In March this year, CAA informed (in writing) 99 rice importers to provide details of their imports and Minister Bathiudeen has instructed CAA to take legal action against any importer who failed to provide such details to date.
Minister also instructed CAA to inspect mills and warehouses for mixing of any imported and local rice and look for sellers who sell such rice. CAA is also instructed to raid sellers who sell rice above MRP.
A sole trader found guilty by the Magistrate courts is fined between Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 or given a prison term not exceeding six months (or both) as per CAA Act 9 of 2003. If the offender is a private company then the fine is between Rs 10,000 to 100,000.